James and the Giant Peach
When James drops magic crystals by the peach tree, the toy peach starts growing. Before long, its as big as a house and contains a secret entranceway.
The curriculet is being added to your library
Roald Dahl wrote many books. Here is a short biography of him. (This annotation contains a link)
What is most unusual about the death of James' parents?
This is a simile. The author compares James' room to a prison cell using this type figurative language. Here is a video explaining Similes and their use. (This annotation contains a video)
All of the following characteristics of the aunts can be revealed by this punishment except:
Similes are often used to make a description more vivid or to emphasize an idea. Here the author wants you to see how enticing the world around James is to him. It is as enticing as the idea of a magic carpet right there in front of you for you to step on and soar to new heights.
These are laurel bushes. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the effect of repeating the word peculiar and the adjective in front of it becoming more intense?
Here is a picture of the two aunts from the live action movie adaptation of the book. Can you tell which one is which? (This annotation contains an image)
When text is in italics it is a signal to the reader that something is different. This text is meant to be said in a sing-song voice. Can you hear these two meanies insulting each other in sweet voices as you read? Which one has the deeper voice and why would you think that?
This is an example of verbal irony. Here is a video to help you understand verbal irony. After watching, what does Aunt Spiker really mean by saying this to her sister? (This annotation contains a video)
What characteristic does this line of dialogue reveal about Aunt Spiker?
At the end of Chapter 2, James is crying. Why does the author begin Chapter 3 with this statement?
Here is this scene depicted in the live action movie. What is different about the old man in the text from the man in the picture? (This annotation contains an image)
The author uses all of the following words in this sentence to build a sense of awe and wonder except:
James recognizes this bag could change his life and he is nervous. Notice the text says he is "finding his voice at last." This is hyperbole, an exaggeration. His voice is not really lost; he is nervous. The hyperbole makes this description more vivid and you can almost hear his nervousness.
How do the old man's instructions compare to his description of how the green things were made?
He was very determined to get to the house because this is a picture of what stinging nettle rash looks! Yikes! (This annotation contains an image)
This refers to more than just the green things. What else does James think he has now lost?
Wells were common for people who lived far from settlements. (This annotation contains an image)
The author, Roald Dahl, is British. In England, citizens speak English but some of their words are different from American English. A chopper in England is an ax.
Why is Aunt Sponge shocked when Aunt Spiker tells her she sees a peach? (Hint: if you don't remember, go back and look at the description of this tree.)
This is another way of using the expression to be "blown away" by something. What does the author mean?
Look at the picture below. Peach trees do not have thick, sturdy branches. The aunts have no concern for his safety by asking him to climb to the tallest branch; they just want the peach. (This annotation contains an image)
What type of figurative language is used in this sentence?
This expression is an idiom. After watching the video, see if you can figure out what this idiom means. (This annotation contains a video)
The aunts are exceptionally happy and so is James but their reasons are very different. Why do you think James is excited? Why do you think the aunts are excited?
Aunt Sponge is literally telling James to mind his own business by telling him to keep out of it. However, this actually is an example of foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is when an author gives clues about events that will happen later in the story. Keep this phrase in mind and see if you can determine the event this foreshadows.
What is ironic about how the aunts are describing and treating this peach?
A shilling is a British unit of currency or money. The system breaks down as 4 farthings = 1 penny, 12 pence = 1 shilling, and 20 shillings = 1 pound. Here is a picture of a shilling. (This annotation contains an image)
This sounds like a bargain coming Aunt Sponge but is she really offering a discount? How does this reveal her greed?
There is much excitement generated from the arrival of this peach. This excitement seems to get a little out of hand and creates some anxiety in the reader about what is going to happen next. Here is a video on mood. Watch it and then look at the words the author uses to set this anxious mood. (This annotation contains a video)
This is not figurative language. It is a literal description explaining that he was truly locked in like he was in jail.
James has been locked in his room. Now he is locked out of the house. His life is a sad existence. The word lock can mean physically locked but it can also have a social/emotional meaning. For example, he has been locked away from any of his other family members. What other things can you think of that James has been locked away from?
What paragraph shows a shift in mood?
The setting creates situational irony here. Here is a video to explain situational irony. After watching, look back and examine how crawling into a dark, murky tunnel should be scary but because its the magic peach, it has the opposite effect. (This annotation contains a video)
Remember what the inside of a peach is like? The stone is the hard core in the middle sometimes referred to as the pit. (This annotation contains an image)
There is a definite shift in mood! All of the following words describe the mood now in the story except:
James is positively scared to death. He is worried with all this talk of food that he is going to be their next main course!
What should this laughter indicate to James?
Of course a centipede cannot talk. The author is giving these insects human characteristics. This technique is called personification. Personification can be used for many reasons. In the last paragraph, the humor is that a centipede can have up to 100 or more legs! That is a whole lot of boots! (This annotation contains an image)
Old Green Grasshopper calls himself a musician and this is personification. However, grasshoppers do make sounds in nature. Listen to this grasshopper and see what instrument it sounds like to you. (This annotation contains a video)
What type of figurative language is being used in this line of dialogue?
Here is a picture of a hammock. Now imagine this made with the web of a spider. (This annotation contains an image)
Centipede is barking orders at James like his two mean aunts used to do, but James already is warming up to him. Centipede is different from the aunts in all of the following ways except:
This is not profanity and not a body part. This is another word for donkey.
This is an actual glow worm. You can imagine this green light shining in this room on all of them. (This annotation contains an image)
In this context, what does the Centipede mean by the "wretched light"?
From this line, you can conclude all of the following about James except:
Quiz for Chapters 1-13
Even the bugs know those two aunts are not good people!
"...take you under my wings.." is usually used as idiom meaning to take care of someone. In this case, it has two meanings because Ladybug is offering to physically hold James to protect him and the idiom definition also applies.
What can be concluded from this dialogue?
In contrast to the insects who are concerned with James' welfare, his two guardians feel nothing but hatred towards him even wishing he had broken his neck. They truly are cruel.
What is the effect of the simile on the meaning of this line?
The author refers to the giant peach as a monster that is terrorizing the people in its path. This is an allusion to Godzilla the movie monster. Here is a video explaining allusion. Then let's look at the rest of the description to see if you can see the reference. (This annotation contains a video)
Godzilla is a towering monster from the movies who is famous for destroying everything in his path. Here is a clip from Godzilla Destroys Osaka. How does this clip compare to what the giant peach is doing in the text? Do you see the reference or allusion to Godzilla? (This annotation contains a video)
What literary device is being used here?
These are known as the White Cliffs of Dover. Look at how high they are! (This annotation contains an image)
This one line uses three types of figurative language: onomatopoeia, alliteration, and a simile. What is the impact on the text of using this figurative language?
Yay! Peaches float. (This annotation contains an image)
Have you ever been in a car going over speed bumps? That is the reference used here to the peach rolling over Spiker and Sponge as two bumps. (This annotation contains a video)
This imagery in this scene appeals to your senses of hearing, touch, and sight. Imagery is when the author paints a picture with words. This is a moving picture and you follow James from tangle to tangle. Even in the midst of this frightening experience, the author adds humor in his description of the Earthworm. What makes this humorous?
Old Green Grasshopper believes the Ladybug is still dizzy from all the rolling. The video shows a similar effect in a child trying to walk after spinning in a tire swing. (This annotation contains a video)
This is an allusion to the Israelites wandering in the desert for forty years reaching the land they had been promised. The insects compare their journey to that of the wandering Israelites finally reaching their homeland.
What words and phrases help the convey the mood of panic and doom?
Why does she say his existence is gloomy. Well, Earthworms are often called night crawlers because they feed above ground at nighttime. They are not fond of light, and they burrow during the day just below the surface. They can, however, dig way deep in the soil if they wish. Some as deep as 6.5 feet. They have no eyes but can sense light and dark. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the meaning of "see" in this selected text?
Earthworm is trying to make the situation gloomy and he cannot. This adds humor to the text.
The movie version of this book has a version of this song where all the characters sing about their old food favorites. Watch this and compare the lyrics of the text with the song. (This annotation contains a video)
An optimist is someone who looks at a situation and tries to see the good in it. Which character is showing optimism?
Sharks attack in groups, swim towards their prey, and surround it. Circling around is a well known behavior before they attack. (This annotation contains an image)
Why are all the insects looking to James for help?
How would you characterize Miss Spider from this dialogue?
The author compares the stem to the mast of a ship. (This annotation contains an image)
This is the concept James is discussing. (This annotation contains an image)
Knowing the Earthworm, do you think he will be a willing participant in this? Explain your answer using examples from the text.
Which line of dialogue is the most logical argument for why Earthworm should act as bait?
This comparison to boiling water is not about the temperature of the water. The sharks are swarming, biting, and attacking the peach. By doing so, they are churning up the water like water that is boiling churns. (This annotation contains an image)
What role best describes the Centipede in this scene?
The idea here is for James to loop the string around the neck. The image is like that of a cowboy using a lasso. (This annotation contains a video)
James can be described by all of the following except:
Real spiders seem to defy gravity with the ability to crawl on the underside of surfaces without falling. They are built for it. Their legs contain a small cluster of hairs, and each one is covered by thousands of smaller hairs called setules. These setules stick to surfaces allowing the spider to stay in position even when upside down. (This annotation contains an image)
Watch this dog. It is the same concept the author is explaining with the sharks. Visualize the sharks doing the same thing. The peach would appear to be sinking to the riders because the water was so churned up it was bobbing up and down. (This annotation contains a video)
Ladybug can best be described here as ________________.
The image below is a picture of the Queen Mary ship. (This annotation contains an image)
What do the officers believe about the captain?
What can you infer from this line of dialogue?
While all of the insects are personified in this story, it is obvious the author has researched insects. The facts about the creatures are cleverly written in the story. The characters' behavior often matches the the behavior of their real counterparts like we saw with Earthworm. Pay attention to the facts given about each insect and look them up to see if, in fact, they are true. You can learn a great deal about insects by reading this fictional book!
We often make fun of or disbelieve things that seem foreign or different to us, don't we? Describe a time you scoffed at something you later found out to be true but seemed hard to believe at first.
Even today ladybugs are considered a sign of good luck. It comes from their benefit to farmers. Farmers want ladybugs in their fields because they protect crops from small insects like aphids and others who can greatly damage growing crops. In one study it was found that one ladybug in its lifetime could consume as many as 5,000 aphids. (This annotation contains an image)
These insects all know how horrible the two aunts are. From this line of dialogue, what can be inferred?
The lyrics of these songs use hyperbole to describe the how the aunts met their end. What is the impact on the text?
Have you ever tried to keep your balance on the edge of something? You swing your arms in an effort to try to maintain balance. Picture the humor of a centipede with this many legs trying to keep his balance. While this is a serious turn of events, the author still injects humor into the situation.
Do you think Earthworm really feels that way about Centipede? Explain your answer.
Quiz for Chapters 14-26
Candyfloss is British English for cotton candy. (This annotation contains an image)
What could these marbles be? Use your imagination but also remember this author mixes real facts with fictional elements. Explain your answer.
These are examples of the writer's use of onomatopoeia. Here are more examples of this type of figurative language that appeals specifically to the reader's sense of hearing. (This annotation contains a video)
What event is responsible for causing the Cloud Men to throw their hailstones at the passengers?
What does this new danger make them forget about?
Read the link below on how rainbows are actually formed. Remember this author mixes real information with wild fantasy. As you read about this rainbow, see if you can detect any real information being presented. (This annotation contains a link)
Pictured below is a double rainbow. (This annotation contains an image)
What does this comment reveal about Old Green Grasshopper?
Centipede's natural abilities have helped the crew once again. Remember the first time with the peach stem? He caused the first attack but is trying to save them now.
Why does Centipede appeal to James for help? Explain your answer using evidence from the text.
This is the author's second usage of late. What does it mean?
The imagery describes something that looks like the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)
What is ironic about the rain cleaning the paint off of Centipede?
The author uses all of the following words to convey the mood the beginning of this chapter except
A toboggan in American English is a hat but in British English a toboggan is a sled. (This annotation contains an image)
The cars look tiny from high above. (This annotation contains an image)
What do the people of New York City conclude is happening when they see the peach?
This is a picture of a passenger plane. (This annotation contains an image)
The quote shows that James has gone from _____________ to ______________.
This highlighted text shows the author's use of _______________ to emphasize how fearful the whole city was at that moment.
This scene is the image depicted on the front cover of this edition of the novel. (This annotation contains an image)
What impact do you think this will have on people who have already been afraid? Explain your answer.
This is actually an allusion to one of Roald Dahl's other books, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. A snozzwanger is a natural animal enemy of Oompa Loompas in their native land.
Another reference to the other Dahl text. This allusion works well because vermicious knids tease their prey before they catch them and eat them. The public safety workers believe the giant invaders are toying with them. The picture is of vermicious knids spelling the only word they know before they attack. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the impact on the crowd of James appearing beside the giant insects?
Miss Spider is caught up in the moment and is so overwhelmed by James' sweet words about her friends. What is the irony of her words?
Why does the author use this allusion as James addresses the city folk?
Ticker tape parades were reserved for military soldiers returning from war, huge sports victories, and important political leaders. (This annotation contains an image)
This is a reference to a legend of a man who lured the children of a town away by playing a musical instrument to attract them. The text says there were some who were afraid this was not good for all the children to be attracted by the taste of the peach. They are fearing this is like the pied piper and they will lose their children. However, we know this is not sinister at all. (This annotation contains an image)
All of the insects found fame and success. How are their success directly tied to their own natural characteristics? Briefly tell how each one matches the new found career.
Quiz for Chapters 27-39